Skip to main content

Croatian startup Rimac begins testing autonomous, electric hypercar

Rimac C_Two Prototypes Initiated | Hello World

Croatian startup Rimac is quietly but skillfully bringing electrification to the hypercar segment. The limited-edition C Two that was unveiled as a close-to-production concept during the 2018 Geneva Auto Show sold out in record time, and the company is getting ready to deliver the first examples to customers. It’s shaping up to be unlike any electric car you’ve ever seen.

Company founder and CEO Mate Rimac said his engineering team spent years fine-tuning the C Two using detailed computer simulations. Digital tools have gotten so advanced that they significantly cut down the amount of time needed to transform a concept into a production model. Real-world testing remains inevitable, so Rimac will build 17 prototypes to put them through their paces around the world. Each one will serve a specific purpose; some will be used to test chassis rigidity, which directly influences handling, while others will let Rimac try out the C Two’s autonomous driving technology.

Wait a minute! autonomous technology in a hypercar? It’s an odd combination, as hypercars are built to deliver driving engagement and driverless features create the exact opposite, but Rimac is out to break the rules. The C Two’s four electric motors join forces to deliver 1,914 horsepower and a monstrous 1,696 pound-feet of torque to the four wheels. The company quotes a 1.85-second sprint from 0 to 60 mph, which, if achieved, would make it the quickest car in the world.

But, when drivers get tired of headache-inducing, gut-churning acceleration, they can rely on eight cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, a pair of lidar units, and six radar sensors to handle the driving duties when the right conditions are met. The armada of technology generates eight terabytes of data each hour to unlock hands-off, level 4 autonomous driving.

It’s no wonder Rimac sold the 150 cars it plans to build a few short weeks after unveiling the first prototype. That’s in spite of a base price pegged in the vicinity of $2 million, which is par for the course in the hypercar segment. The company will return to the Geneva Auto Show in 2020 to unveil the production variant of the C Two. The coupe will boast design tweaks, an improved interior, an updated powertrain, and a new name. Deliveries will begin by late 2020. That’s a huge task for a relatively young automaker. Building cars is more difficult than it sounds, but Rimac is confident it can pull it off.

Meanwhile, it’s also working with bigger, much older companies to help them electrify their sports cars. Porsche purchased a 10% stake in Rimac in 2018, and it increased its stake to 15.5% the following year, but there’s no word yet on how the two will collaborate. Hyundai and Kia jointly injected 80 million euros (about $90 million) into the company, and the former announced it will take advantage of the partnership to build a super-quick electric hot hatch.

Editors' Recommendations

Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
Business upfront, 31-inch TV in the back. BMW’s electric i7 is a screening room on wheels
Front three quarter view of the 2023 BMW i7.

The BMW 7 Series has been the venerable German automaker’s flagship for more than 40 years, but with its latest redesign, BMW is taking things in a new — and electrifying — direction.
The 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60 (or i7 for short) is the first all-electric 7 Series in the model’s history. It’s positioned against electric luxury sedans like the Lucid Air, Tesla Model S, and the Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan, a longtime BMW rival. But BMW took a different approach with its electric chariot of the affluent.
Because while those other EVs are based on clean-sheet designs, the i7 is just one version of a car that continues with combustion engines. It shares styling and tech — including an available fold-down, rear-seat widescreen monitor — with internal-combustion 7 Series models. So it offers a more traditional approach to luxury for EV buyers who don’t want to change anything about their cars except the method of propulsion.
Those buyers will also pay a slight premium. The i7 starts at $120,295, compared to $114,595 for the 760i xDrive, the first gasoline 7 Series model of the new generation. BMW also plans to offer a less expensive gasoline 740i for $94,295 sometime after launch. But when you’re spending this much on a new car, those aren’t huge differences.

Design and interior
The new 7 Series — and by extension the i7 — is sure to prove controversial due to BMW’s new front-end styling, which combines a massive grille sure to stoke internet memes and odd-looking two-tiered headlights. The effect is exaggerated by an available blacked-out front-end treatment, which makes it look like parts are missing.
Those styling elements carry over from gasoline 7 Series models to the i7, as does the hulk-like body shell, which is abnormally tall for a sedan, requiring steps at the hood and rear bumper to blend them with the thick center section of the body. The i7 also retains a long protruding hood, which is necessary to house the engine in gasoline 7 Series models, but is just an affectation here.
BMW claims the i7 will appeal to buyers who want a traditional luxury sedan first and an EV second. To be fair, the i7 is much more conventional-looking than the streamlined Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan and Lucid Air, or the grille-less Tesla Model S. But some of that work has been undone by BMW’s unorthodox design choices in other areas, which may not appeal to traditionalists either.
The i7 is sure to prove controversial due to BMW's new front-end styling.

Read more
Check out Spectre, Rolls-Royce’s first all-electric car
Rolls-Royce's Spectre, its first all-electric vehicle.

Rolls-Royce Introduces Spectre: The World's First Ultra-Luxury Electric Super Coupé

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has taken the wraps off the Spectre, its first all-electric vehicle.

Read more
Jeep is launching its first two electric SUVs in the U.S. in 2024
Rendering of the Jeep Recon electric SUV.

Jeep will launch four electric SUVs for North America and Europe by the end of 2025, with at least two coming to the U.S., the automaker confirmed Thursday. While Jeep has some plug-in hybrids in its lineup, these will be the brand's first all-electric models.

The first of these models to launch will be the Jeep Recon, which is scheduled to start production in 2024, with reservations opening in early 2023. While it won't be fully revealed until next year, Jeep confirmed the Recon will have a "one-touch power top, removable doors, and glass," similar to the current Jeep Wrangler. While it doesn't replace the Wrangler, it's definitely inspired by the iconic off-roader, Jim Morrison, head of the Jeep brand in North America, said during a presentation of the electrification plan.

Read more